Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fancy a Cup-Cake?

Earlier this year we visited France, and one of the places we discovered was a delightful little English teashop called 'CupCakes'. I wanted to tell you all about it when I blogged earlier, but for some reason the pictures I took weren't really up to standard. However, by a rather circuitous route I have just been sent this link, and lo and behold - this is the very place that I wanted to tell you about.

We didn't succumb to a cupcake when we visited.... but rather a slice of delicious almond and fig tart.

After all, you already know that I LOVE figs!

So, if you are ever in that part of France you know where to go for a little piece of England, but what if you are too far away to indulge? How about a delicious cupcake that you can enjoy just about anywhere and at any time - and that is totally fat free?

Aren't these a delight? They are all available from an Etsy shop called britishcreamtea. There are other goodies there too, including a Cornish Pasty, and frankly it looks far tastier than any I've seen in a real food shop!

Now, a little of what you fancy never did anyone any harm ;0)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Violent Annie

I need to point out at the beginning of this post that Annie was not violent.  In fact, Annie isn't really her name, the title is actually an affectionate corruption of her real name.  Violent Annie was born 105 years ago, and lived to be well over ninety.  I was reminded of her today when I made a tomato sandwich. 

The first 40 years of her life were filled with plenty.  Even the war years were spent in an area that lacked for nothing.  Rationing apparently hardly touched her village as it was almost totally self sufficient.  From a wealthy family the next few years came as a shock to her system when she was divorced and left almost penniless with a child to support.

So why did a tomato sandwich remind me of Violent Annie?  We knew her well and visited her often in the years before she died.  She loved entertaining, but still with no money she resorted to a number of tricks to stretch the odd penny.  I thought of her as I sliced the tomatoes and piled the pieces between two slices of bread.  I almost felt guilty at using so much of the fruit, after all, Violent Annie could have made at least six rounds of sandwiches with the same quantity.  Did I say six ROUNDS?  Yes, enough for six people - and here is her 'recipe'

12 Extremely thin slices of bread
1 bottle salad cream
1 tomato

Blanche then peel the tomato
Finely chop the tomato.  When it is very finely chopped - chop it again.  Continue chopping  until it becomes a paste.
Spread the merest covering of salad cream over two surfaces of bread, repeat with the tomato paste then form into a sandwich.  Repeat with the remaining slices until all the tomato has been used (remember - this must make AT LEAST six rounds....

Carefully remove the crusts from the sandwiches and leave to one side.  Cut the sandwiches into triangles and serve.

So what do you do with the crusts?  They will make tomorrow's lunch by carefully layering in an ovenproof dish.  Cover with a beaten egg and small amount of milk and set aside for a while.  Sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheese and bake in a hot oven until golden for a savoury bread pudding.

What did you have for lunch today?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Whirl

It's been over a week since I had time to blog, so what have I been up to?  It's been a busy time, but we've had great fun.

Last weekend saw us travelling 200+ miles north to visit the York branch of the Embroiderers' Guild.  What a lovely group of ladies.  We were greeted with a lovely lunch, just perfect after our long journey, and then we got ready to give a talk about the embellisher and various techniques.  It was well received with some very interesting and observant questions, and a good prelude to the workshop the next day.  We had very comfortable accommodation courtesy of one of the members, and we owe a very big thank you to Sandra for her care and consideration.

On Sunday 16 members gathered at the university for a workshop.  They were such an enthusiastic bunch!  What lovely samples they produced, and they all seemed to enjoy it.  Of course, in one day we were only able to scratch the surface of the wonderful variety of techniques that can be used, but hopefully they are well on their way to experiment further now.  Here we are at the end of a very busy day, can you see that I wore them all out!  (That's lovely Sandra, our hostess, on the left)

Of course, Sunday was Rememberance Day, and we observed our two minutes silence.  There was a parade in the city of York, and DH was able to go off and take part in some of the ceremonies.

These occasions are always very moving, but more so this year with so many lives lost in the service of our country.

The weather was beautiful while we were away, but the journey home brought us back to earth with a bump.  Our journey was in the dark, finally arriving home in the early hours, and we hit a number of very dense fog patches.  They heralded a change in temperature and of course the rest of the week has been damp and somewhat windy at times (it's supposed to get worse later.....)  However, we returned home to lots of preparatory work....

On Thursday I recorded a DVD!  It's the first of a series, and there will be two featuring the Emebllisher.  You will be able to see more details both on my website and on that of the production company in the very near future.  I would love to show you some pictures of the experience, which was great fun and not in the least bit scary, but unfortunately the camera hasn't obliged.  Hopefully I will be able to borrow a picture from someone else, or point you towards one in the near future.  Keep your eyes peeled!  The DVD will be out before Christmas, and will be full of hints and tips.

Today we are taking it easy.  Off to visit family later, and then another DVD to plan - taking number one a bit further.  I'll be recording that in less than a month, so I need to keep on my toes.

Have a good weekend, and watch this space...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I've got my eye on you

You may remember that earlier this year we went on holiday to France and while we were there we stayed with Sally and Neil, who introduced us, amongst other things, to the delights of the coffeemaker!  Now, each morning is filled with the delicious aroma of freshly made coffee, so much better than the quick whiff as the lid of instant is removed.  Of course, then I had to search for the perfect coffee blend, and that was difficult as the one that we loved in France isn't available locally.  So.. the search took me both north and south, and HOORAY!  I FOUND THE MOST DELICIOUS COFFEE.  I'd like to keep it a secret, but it really is one of the best I've tasted, so here is the link to find it.  .   The picture above is my morning's cup freshly made.  Don't you dare pinch it!  I've got my eye on you....